20.5 Revelation – Wake Up Call

Wake Up Call

I had a college roommate who was a sound sleeper.  A lot of it may have had to do with the hours he kept, but trying to help wake him up, particularly after he had stayed up late cramming for a test, was daunting.  As his alarm blared and his backup alarm roared, he snored.  Yelling at him escalated to turning the lights on, escalated to throwing things at him.  Finally, the only thing that would awaken him was to literally shake him out of the bed.

I was reminded of this in the earthquake that accompanies the final bowl judgment.  It is the ultimate final wake-up call.  No more gentle nudges.  No more sing-song wake-ups.  No more bird and wave sound alarms.  This is a “your house is on fire and you are going to burn up (for all eternity) wake up shake”.

We tend to focus on the power and the terribleness of these final judgments/  But isn’t it also reassuring that even up to shaking people out of the planet, with no place to hide under the covers, God pours out His desire on mankind to wake up and repent and turn to Him?

And isn’t more amazing and far more terrible that even in the grasp of God shaking them violently to wake up and repent, they still refuse?

My Answers:

12.
a.
Jesus

b.
The heavens and the skies opened and the earth quaked like nothing before in all creation – islands disappear and mountains fall

c.
personally seen was aftermath of a Tornado in Joplin.  heard of would be the Japan tsunami

d.
Terrifying – there will be no place to turn or hide – but more so terrifying is the fact that they still curse God

13.
a.
To be ready and alert.  To not follow the worlds ways and be deceived – to joyfully anticipate God

b.
Working – prepared to fulfill duties – not sleeping on the job

14.
Amazingly they still curse God rather than repent.  It is a total denial of God’s justice replaced by their own.  They want to be God.

04.5 Revelation – Do you fear suffering?

Do you fear suffering?

In Revelation 2:10 Jesus tells the church of Smyrna, “ Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer.

Let’s think about that for a moment.  Isn’t having a healthy fear of suffering a good thing because it keeps us out of high-risk situations?  Don’t suffering and pain go hand-in-hand and didn’t God give us pain as a warning sign?

But as I thought about this command from our Lord, I realized that the opposite of fear is not “to seek out” or “to look forward to.”  So I looked up what the opposite of fear is.

According to Roget’s Thesaurus, the antonym of fear is faith.

I thought about the story of Jacob upon his return trip to his home land and the fear that gripped him.  As you will recall, Jacob tricked his father into giving him the blessing he had intended to give to his brother Esau.  Esau was so angered, that Jacob fled for his life.  Years go by.  He raises a family, prospers, and the time comes for him to return home.  But returning home means facing Esau and the 400 men who, alerted to Jacob’s return, are on their way to meet him.  A stream separates the land and picking up the story in Genesis 32:22, Jacob sends his family and all possessions across the ford and remained on the other side by himself where, it says, in verse 24, “Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak.”  As daybreak came, despite suffering from a dislocated hip, Jacob refuses to let go without receiving a blessing.

We have been given the same choice.  Are we starting the new day in the grip of fear or are we clinging to God.  What is faith other than an unrelenting holding on to God?  We cannot allow fear to prevent us from the mission God has for our life.  God does not promise that mission will be free of suffering and persecution.  God never promises an easy road while on this earth. But the reward of the suffering of the path is that it is an on-ramp to the ultimate “high-way” of heaven that lasts for eternity.

But, let’s be honest with each other – we do not have the power to overcome this fear on our own.  If we are fully aware of the pain and suffering that standing firm to the word of God will bring, our initial reaction is to draw away in fear.  But, God does not expect us to overcome this fear on our own.  We are not to overcome fear by looking through it to the reward on the other side, nor by convincing ourselves that it will be temporary or “not-so-bad”.  While those may be true, they are insufficient. The only way we can overcome fear is by faith.  The only way we can overcome fear is by following the example of Israel and relentlessly refuse to let go of God no matter how much the synonyms of fear (anxiety, despair, doubt and worry) grab ahold of us.

Hold the hand of the Lord firmer.  He is reaching out to you with assurance, confidence, calm, encouragement and joy. “ Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer.”  Do not allow fear to keep you out of those loving hands!

My Answers:

13.
a.
imprisoned, death, torture, whipped, cursed, falsely accused and tried, taken out of jobs, homes, land, the synagogue., stripped, beaten.

b.
Some of this happens in places today.  In all places, where followers stand strong in their faith, they are ridiculed and made fun of, caused to lose or forgo earthly riches, etc.

14.
a.
They are either in the grasp of fear or the hands of God – you can’t turn your life over to both.  To allow yourself to be in the grip of fear is to deny that God has the power and authority and desire to protect you.

b.
He suffered.  It is an honor (not one we look forward to, yet we are taught so by the apostles) that He considers our faith strong enough to allow us to face that level of trial and persecution so that His message can shine through it.

15.
I anticipate suffering in ever human matter possible – physically, emotionally, financially – as I continue to witness for Christ.  I do not look forward to this suffering, but I do look forward to growing my faith through it and the comfort and assurance that Christ will provide through it.